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Reid not for turning on appointment booking

Dr John Reid has used his first speech on primary care to ram home that GPs must offer pre-booked appointments.

The Health Secretary said practices were able to hit the 48-hour access target and provide advance slots.

'One does not exclude the other. We have never, are not and will not order GPs to stop giving pre-booked appointments. If practices prevent patients from pre-booking they are not delivering the service patients are entitled to expect.'

In the speech to the NHS Alliance, Dr Reid said scores on the quality framework would be published in a form 'understandable to the public and in consultation with GPs'.

He added: 'The priority is to allow patients to make an informed choice provided the data is in a sensible form.'

Dr Reid also said PCTs should plan out-of-hours cover on the basis most GPs will opt out and integrate the service with ambulances, pharmacists and district nursing.

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